Threat Condition Raised to ‘High’; Corroborated Info Cited
T. Rhem, AFPS
Feb. 7, 2003 — Citing an increased threat of terrorist attacks
within the United States, President Bush agreed today to raise
the homeland security threat condition to "orange,"
designating a high likelihood of attack.
increased threat condition designation is based on specific intelligence
received and analyzed by the full intelligence community,"
Attorney General John Ashcroft said in a televised press conference
from the Justice Department. He added that several sources corroborated
the intelligence information.
Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, U.S. law enforcement and intelligence
officials have warned that al Qaeda is still active and still
dangerous. The color-coded threat-level warning system was started
in response. Since it began, the threat level has mostly held
steady at "yellow," meaning "elevated threat of
has been raised beyond that on three previous occasions, however,
the most recent being Sept. 10, 2002. Ashcroft noted that the
heightened threat level lasted about two weeks.
orange threat level is specifically related to the Muslim holy
period of Haj, which ends in mid-February.
reports warn of threats to apartment buildings and hotels and
other "soft," or lightly guarded, targets that would
lead to high numbers of casualties, the attorney general said.
Economic targets, such as transportation or energy hubs, and sites
symbolic of American history or power might also be targeted.
in London of individuals possessing the deadly biological toxin
ricin show terrorists are willing and may be able to carry out
biological or chemical attacks.
and local law enforcement and public health agencies have been
made aware of the change and will be updating their security measures,
Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge said. He reminded security
managers at all levels that varying security measures can be an
are not recommending individuals cancel plans or gatherings. "As
we have in the past, we ask that Americans continue their daily
work and leisure with a heightened awareness of their environment
and the activities occurring around them," Ashcroft said.
Americans take some time to prepare for possible emergencies and
that families make a contact plan, "so that if an event occurred
you can get in touch with one another."
He also urged
Americans to become informed now about the types of threats and
how best to deal with each. "Terrorist attacks really can
potentially take many forms," Ridge noted, "and so by
learning more now about these kinds of attacks, you and your families
can be armed in advance with a kind of information that you might
need and that might be critical to your health and well-being."
is available on the Homeland Security Department Web site at www.dhs.gov.